Memorial Fund Supports Student Attendance At Pulp and Paper Meeting

Colleagues set up fund to recognize long-time volunteer James A. Rooks

7 April 2008

When IEEE Fellow James A. Rooks died last May, his friends and colleagues wanted to do something that would recognize his enthusiasm for the IEEE and the Industrial ,Applications Society. After all, Rooks was a lifelong volunteer, co-founding and later serving as the chair of the IEEE Industrial Applications Society’s Oregon and Southwest Washington Chapter, and he was the membership chair for the IEEE Oregon Section when he died. He was also a facilitator of the IEEE-IAS Pulp and Paper Industry Committee.

“Dad was passionate about getting people involved with the IEEE,” says one of his daughters, Rebecca Rooks. “He was constantly doing something related to the IEEE, even when we were on vacation.”

With initial donations of more than US $60 000 including $30 000 from Rooks's family, friends, and several companies, and $30 000 in matching funds from the society, the IEEE-IAS James A. Rooks Memorial Student Intern Fund was established and approved in February by the IEEE Foundation’s Board of Directors. Corporate gifts included $10 000 from Hawk IR International Ltd., $1000 from Eaton Corp., $1000 from Iris Power and $1500 from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation. The fund will subsidize the travel costs of sending up to four engineering students every year to the IEEE-IAS Pulp and Paper Industry Conference, where they will learn about the field through reading technical papers, attending tutorials, and interacting with leading engineers. This year’s students are still being selected; the process should be completed by the end of April.

“One of Dad’s interests was getting students to understand what it means to be involved with the IEEE, “ Rooks says, “not just because it would be a huge part of their careers but also because of the wealth of information available at IEEE conferences. Dad also realized that students might not have the money to attend the conference, or that companies might not want to fund sending an intern to it, so this program is a nice legacy to his efforts.”

Attendees at this year’s IEEE-IAS Pulp and Paper Industry Conference, being held 22 to 27 June in Seattle, will also be able to contribute to the Rooks Fund when they fill out their registration forms. This is the first time an IEEE conference is being used to promote an IEEE Foundation fund, according to Michael Deering of the IEEE Foundation staff in Piscataway, N.J.

IEEE members can also make donations to the fund online or by mail. To find out more, visit

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